“But what if you die and I remarry and she wants to have kids?”
“What if (heaven forbid) something happens to one of our kids and we want to try to have another?”
Lately, we’ve been having a lot of conversations like these. Let me tell you, it’s every bit as fun as it sounds. See, we’ve hit the point in marriage and childbearing where we’re pretty sure we’re completely done making babies, and now we’re debating whether we are ready to “make it official” and look into permanent birth control — i.e., a vasectomy.
We’re ready to enjoy sex without worrying.
I’m writing anonymously because, let’s face it, whose husband wants them to write about vasectomies and the process of deciding if we (he?) wants one? But if the number of conversations I’ve had lately with girlfriends is any indicator, this post could easily have been written by any number of mommy bloggers.
Each girlfriend has a different story, but the themes are the same — we’re ready to enjoy sex without having to worry about an oopsie or a daily pill or a device that we have to replace every three to five years. We love our children, but we’re pretty sure (barring an act of God) our family is complete.
But we haven’t decided yet…
My husband and I aren’t quite ready to proceed with a vasectomy yet. We’re pretty sure. But we keep coming back to, “This is a permanent decision — is ‘almost-entirely-certain’ enough?”
So how do you make the decision?
Well, you start out by talking to your doctor, who will probably refer you to a urologist for a consultation. Actually, let’s be honest — first, you Google it and figure out what the heck actually happens in a vasectomy. Your husband freaks out a little bit and needs to play some video games, eat some beef jerky, and grunt as he processes someone snipping his pipes and redirecting his swimmers elsewhere. Once he’s had a little bit of time, then he calls his doctor and starts seeking reassurance that the WebMD possible side effects don’t happen all that often.
Then you begin all the awkward conversations about whether there are circumstances in which you might not want it to be a permanent decision. Be honest and take your time, because while the vasectomy procedure is not super complicated, reversing it is much more so. (Although I should mention that thanks to the miracle of IVF, it is possible to conceive via in-vitro, without a vasectomy reversal, by simply aspirating the sperm directly from the testes.)
For these conversations, I’d recommend lots of coffee, a fair amount of wine, and a really good sense of humor. Talking about your husband’s trophy wife who is going to follow your imminent demise can be quite fun, but other potential scenarios aren’t so easy. Be sure to have a temporary birth control option available, because all the talk about sex (coupled with the wine and the emotions) might lead to a little gymnastics between the sheets, and now’s not really the time to play Russian Roulette to see how sure you actually are.
Somewhere in there, you need to cover whether he’s actually OK with being the one to take on the birth control option. My husband is wonderful and has never pressured me in the slightest to pursue birth control that I wasn’t comfortable with. I want to do the same for him. If he’s not OK with it, we’ll have to look at something else. His body, his choice. Thankfully, in our era, there are lots of choices.
Remember, the ultimate goal is more intimacy, not less.
Whatever we decide, we’ll come back to what’s important: Our ultimate goal is more intimacy, not less. I’ll stay in tune with my partner and my family. If we’re still feeling uncomfortable, we’ll pay attention to those feelings and not rush past them. And once we’re certain, we won’t feel guilty about not wanting more kids — instead, we’ll celebrate that we are able to focus on the ones we have!
It’s complicated. I’m sure my girlfriends and I haven’t had our last conversations about where we would fit a hypothetical n-th child and how we would pay for college for them, and if our minds might change in five years when we’d be geriatric parents, or what about the trophy wife and her deepest longings. For now, it’s TBD.
Is your family complete? What helped you make the decision to go for a vasectomy?